Real-time Decision Support and Intelligence for Prevention and Control of Infectious Disease in the United Kingdom
International Journal of Infectious Diseases
This paper describes two linked web-based applications: HPZone and HPIntelligence developed in the UK and designed to provide Health Protection Professionals at the local level with timely and comprehensive information on threats, incidents and enhanced intelligence. Methods: The two applications have been developed using a bottom up and top-down approach involving health protection professionals in the United Kingdom and a wide consultation process over a period of ten years, which began with
... , which began with the development of a structured risk assessment model for infectious disease control. HPZone has been successfully implemented in health protection units in three regions in the UK. Results: HPZone provides the means of recording, viewing, querying and extracting comprehensive information on enquiries, threats and incidents and allows health protection professionals at the local level assess and respond in the most efficient and effective way possible. It provides consistent workflow mechanisms to support all the key business processes of Health Protection Professional at the local levels, from the handling of routine Enquiries, through Case management and Contact tracing, right up to the management of Outbreaks and Incidents. HPIntelligence provides key aggregate clinical, epidemiological and laboratory data in real-time and in GIS or tabular formats. It also provides automated alerts for coincidence and incidences and other timely data sets, which can be used for scientific evaluation by epidemiologists, modellers and others. Conclusions: Immediate gains from the two suites include a real-time decision support system based on consistent protocols and an efficient early warning function for problems that are "bubbling away, the capture of individual, regional and national corporate memory using easily sharable rules and protocols for enhanced intelligence in health protection. HPZone and HPIntelligence will help prioritise options for control strategies and inform control policies.